Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sheep Crook and Black Dog




Here's me black dog here's me sheep crook I'll will give unto you
Here's me bag and me budget I will bid 'em all adieu
Here's me black dog and me sheep crook I'll will leave 'em all behind
Since Flora my laurel you've proved so unkind


I'll lay o'er the green branches although I am young
How dearly I loved my love how sweetly she sang
Was there ever a young man in such a sorry state
As me with my Flora my laurel of late

All to my dear Flora these words I did say
Tomorrow we'll be married love tomorrow is our day
Oh no dearest William my age it is too young
One day to our wedding is one day too soon

For I'll go into service if the day ain't too late
I'll be apprenticed to a fine lady it is my intent
And when into service for a year or two bound
It's then we'll get married love and I'll settle down

But a little while after a letter was wrote
All a-saying that Flora had changed her mind
And she said that she lived such a contrary life
She'd never be she couldn't ever be a young shepherd's wife

Here's me black dog here's me sheep crook I'll will give unto you
Here's me bag and me budget I will bid 'em all adieu
Here's me black dog and me sheep crook I'll will leave 'em all behind
Since Flora my laurel you've proved so unkind

This song was collected by Sam Henry “in north Co. Derry, although it is now probably better known in southern English versions. Lucy Broadwood printed a Surrey set in English Country Songs and more recently it has been recorded from a West Country traveller, the late Queen Caroline Hughes. It also crossed the Atlantic and has been found in Newfoundland (as Floro) and in Novia Scotia.”  Recordings known to me are as follows:

Steeleye Span, Below the Salt, Irish day labourer Eddie Butcher singing Flora on the Free Reed album I Once Was a Daysman, Norma Waterson's Sheep Crook and Black Dog on her album Bright Shiny Morning and to Brian Peters' version on his album Sharper Than the Thorn. Also this song was recorded by Ewan MacColl on his album The Real MacColl.

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